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Changes to Emergency Department access but staff still serving the community

28 April 2020

Austin Health is making changes to the way patients enter its Emergency Department to help manage the risk of COVID-19.

Acting Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr Simon Judkins, said the major change will be for patients coming to the Department by car.

“The main entrance to our Emergency Department will still be via Burgundy St but patients are being assessed by nursing staff before they enter the hospital,” Dr Judkins said.

“Patients arriving by car are now being directed by traffic management to the public drop off area and are required to wait in their vehicle for an ED nurse to ask them some simple screening questions.

“Once patients are screened they are given further directions by nursing staff before entering the Emergency Department.

“This new process will help us to minimise any potential risks associated with COVID-19 and help us to ensure patients can safely access quality emergency care,” he said.

Dr Judkins said the change means there is no short-term parking outside the Department.

“Emergency patients coming to the Burgundy St entrance by car will need someone else to drive them to hospital. Once the patient has been screened by nursing staff, the driver will be required to remove their car from the drop-off area,” he said.

“Mums and dads bringing children to the Burgundy St entrance, and carers supporting patients needing assistance, may require someone else to drive them to hospital if they need to accompany the patient into the Department. We’re asking parents and carers who don’t have a third person available to drive them to consider other forms of transport like taxis and ride sharing vehicles to bring them to the Emergency Department.

“If the driver needs to come back into ED they will need to drive out to the Austin car park, park and enter the Department via the main hospital entrance,” Dr Judkins said.

Dr Judkins said the change came into effect on Tuesday 28 April.

“We recognise that coming to the Emergency Department can be a stressful time for patients and their families, and we thank the community for their patience and understanding,” he said.

“We’re asking people to keep working with our staff so that we can provide everybody with the best possible care.”

For more information please contact Austin Health on 9496 3566.

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